We kicked off July with our first ever camping trip. We headed to the New Forest for a Park Ranger weekend with Camping in the Forest and got to meet Chris Packham.
So what did we take for our first ever camping trip?
Well I was fully aware we were only travelling for one night. It was also a possibility that taking a three year old and a husband who likes his creature comforts camping could be a disaster. So I didn’t want to spend a huge amount of money.
We didn’t bother with a camping stove or anything like that. Camping in the Forest were providing a barbecue for the evening and I figured we could last the morning without a fry up. The weather was gorgeous so we didn’t need hot drinks or anything like that to warm up with either. If we do start camping more it is certainly something I will invest in, but for the moment with plans for another one night trip I think we’ll be ok.
Obviously I packed all the mobile phone powerpacks. We’ve got some great ones from Varta that kept us charge for the weekend. I was all for getting back to nature but I also wanted to read and my books are my phone , as well as take pictures. Possibly keep up with my social media too, I am a blogger after all!
We also packed some portable potties we had been sent from Hippy Chick, I have already raved about them here. They were really useful with L and saved me some late night/early morning trips to the toilet blocks.
SLEEPING AND EATING
I had taken a little shopping trip to Mountain Warehouse to get another camp chair, we only had two and I figured L would steal one of them and I wasn’t planning on being relegated to the floor! I also got an air bed and sleeping bags for husb and I. There is a chance I may have left with a gorgeous picnic rucksack as well, not part of the plan but actually very handy as it incorporates a cool bag and all of the plates/cups/cutlery you could need all neat and in one place. With all these things I figured they could come in handy in the future even if we didn’t camp again. We don’t have a spare bed in our house, so the camp bed and sleeping bags would come in handy if people needed to stay and I know we’ll use the picnic bag too.
Sleeping wise L already had an inflatable all in one Paw Patrol bed we’d bought for my sister’s wedding, we were being cheap and refused to pay the extortionate price they were charging to make up a bed for him. He also uses this when he stays with my parents. So adding camping onto its list of uses was very handy.
Light wise I took our Smooz Can from Lighting Direct. We’d tested it out for garden entertaining as a Bluetooth Music player with light functions, but the fact it has a hanging hook, holds loads of charge and has a dimmable white light made it perfect for camping too.
Finally and most importantly there was the tent. Halfords kindly sent us a 4 man Vis a Vis tent. At the time they sent it to me it was £120 reduced to £60 in the sale, so completely fitted with my budgetary ideas. (I know, I was sent it for review so didn’t have to pay, but at this price point it is actually what I would have gone for myself.) The sale is still on by the way, so if you’re thinking of a new tent I’d go have a look.
It’s perfect for us as newbies campers. With two bedrooms and a middle living/storage area it fits the three of us nicely. The bedrooms fit a double airbed and two adults perfectly. No space around the airbed, but not too crowded whilst you sleep either. To be fair the bedrooms are palatial if you are a toddler and will fit your airbed, all the inappropriately sized toys you have decided to bring and still leave you room to play!
You can’t stand in the centre bit, but it was fine for us to sit and eat or play a board game if it was chucking it down. I wouldn’t want to have to spend a lot of time inside the tent but as we are fair weather only campers it is just right for us.
It was easy to put up, it says you need two people but I managed by myself for a trial run in the garden taking about 30 minutes. With the two of us when we pitched up at the campsite it was up in 20 minutes.
Taking it down and packing it away was easy as well. Of course nothing fits back in the bag as well afterwards but without too much fuss we can fit everything bar the poles in the bag and as the poles have their own storage bag it isn’t the end of the world.
I liked that you could have the porch section opened up with poles. It provided a bit of shade and made the living section seem a bit more spacious. I also appreciated there being spare pegs included, that’s always useful. The assembly instructions are stitched into the storage bag so will ever go missing, also very handy.
To be honest it is worth every penny of it’s full price £120 price tag. The sale makes it unbelievable value for money!! Clearly we couldn’t have camped without our tent and if you aren’t sure about turning into fully fledged campers you don’t want to spend too much. Equally I wouldn’t have considered anything smaller. We needed the separate bedrooms. It meant we could get L off to sleep and not disturb when we turned in.
Things I wish we had taken but forgot.
Shoes for the child. A mallet for the pegs. A warmer layer for the evening. Hayfever tablets.
That’s not too bad really. There was nothing big I wish I’d bought. Just those few silly things that you always forget. Every holiday I forget something and this was no different. Just to clarify L had footwear but only wellies!
Disclosure – we were sent the tent for review. Some of the other items were sent for review purposes earlier in the year and have already been written about. Everything from Mountain Warehouse I purchased myself for the trip.